Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Donald Fehr is about to earn his keep.
And the hockey world is about to find out how all the hype, the legend that has grown up around the longtime baseball union leader translates to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s world.
From the outside, that would appear to come down to the simple question of whether Fehr can keep his constituents on point once the second lockout in eight years begins at 11:59 p.m. Saturday.
But that’s only part of it.
With the two sides edging fractionally toward a deal with a pair of counterproposals Wednesday, the days leading up to what would be the start of the 2012-13 season in early October will test Fehr’s skills, not just as a hard negotiator but as one who is savvy enough to understand the landscape and see two, three, eight months down the road.
from Stephen Brunt of Sportsnet,
You don't matter, because they know you're not going anywhere. You don't matter, because the last time around, even after missing a full season and finding other ways to use those empty hours, you flocked back in droves.
You have no dog in this fight. There's no relationship between ticket prices and players salaries, nor has there ever been. The owners will continue to charge whatever the market will bear, and not a penny less. Some of you can afford that, some of you can't, and it has always been thus.
You'll get your hockey back soon enough, and you'll be ridiculously grateful to have it in November or December or January or whenever the puck is dropped.
That's something on which both sides quietly agree. And history suggests there's no reason to believe they're wrong.
from Robert Tychkowski of the Edmonton Sun,
While nobody can really understand why guys making Brinks trucks full of money to play a game would dig their heels in on a few percentage points, people are starting to understand why the players have become so frustrated with their league.
“Definitely,” said Oilers winger Ryan Jones. “The majority of people are looking at this and saying one side is being a little more realistic than the other.”
The owners, after all, got everything they wanted in the last lockout — including a salary cap tied directly to league revenue, a massive 24% rollback on existing contracts and a cap on entry level deals.
And in the seven years since, NHL revenue has grown by 33%, from $2.2 billion to $3.3 billion.
And now they’re asking for another salary roll back?
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The Answerman returns after a lengthy hiatus, to ponder the latest developments in the all-too-predictable labour dispute between NHL owners and players …
Q: What is it about work stoppages in professional sport that so ramps up your crankiness quotient? Usually you are the soul of even-handedness and understanding.
A: One simple reason: The coming NHL lockout is so unnecessary and so easily avoided, if only reasonable people would sit down, skip past the obligatory rhetoric, posturing and other stall tactics currently preventing meaningful negotiations – and get down to the business of give and take. Sadly, that’s not likely to happen until December at the earliest.
Until then, both sides will try to impress you with how firm their resolve is. They’re digging in for a long siege, and since they’re not actually moving very fast off their respective starting points, it’ll leave them lots of time to convince you – the fan – that they hold the moral high ground in this dispute.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
So what now?
I don’t see any way this thing is wrapped up anytime soon. You have to begin to think that at least half the season might be in jeopardy now with both sides so entrenched.
The timing of Wednesday’s dueling proposals should surprise no one. In conversations I’ve had with people on both sides of the divide, it’s clear there was a desire to bring a fresh offer on the eve of important and large gatherings for both parties. The NHLPA wants all 30 owners to get a look Thursday in the Board of Governors meeting at what the players are willing to do and let them decide for themselves how they feel about it. Similarly, with 250-plus players gathered in New York on Wednesday and Thursday for two days of meetings, the league hopes the players can take a look for themselves at the league’s last offer.
Not sure that’s going to sway either side much. The owners will give Bettman near unanimous backing on Thursday to commence the lockout on Saturday night. The players will be quoted Thursday after their meetings saying they stand in solidarity and believe in what their leader, Donald Fehr, is telling them.
There’s one thing I’m pretty sure of, though. If the players and owners held their meetings at the Red Roof Inn in Toledo, Ohio, rather than in fabulous downtown Manhattan, they actually might get something done. The pressure from the media alone would force a compromise.
-Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun where you can read even more on the CBA talks.
This time Fehr has roughly 300 of his closest NHL players with him, as the settle in New York for two days of NHLPA meetings.
I have to believe most of you have come to the conclusion we are about to see a lockout when we wake up on Sunday morning.
I am not going to post numerous tweets from Fehr's press conference, but this one basically sums up the wide gap between the two parties.
First Gary Bettman (14 minutes) followed by Donald Fehr ( 7 minutes) below.
Speaking to reporters in New York, Fehr said it was too early to characterize whether or not the proposal means talks are progressing, he commented that both proposals tabled on Wednesday were consistent with each side's previous principles in talks.
Fehr classified the counter-proposal as "responsive" but held firm that he and the players saw no reason for an absolute reduction in salaries based on revenue growth. He did, however, state that the players could be prepared for a lesser share of hockey-related revenues should they continue to grow.
As to whether the proposals would lead to an agreement before any games are lost, Fehr would only say that, "we can only make a deal when people are ready to make a deal".
Meanwhile, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that the league saw little change from Players' Association's previous proposals.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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